Enough

12672156_1016740721753537_5591185542044145144_o

Image via Rupi Kaur

I’ve had a really, really difficult week. My demons have been raging inside of me, and I’ve been struggling to find peace. I’ve been restless and flaky and full of guilt and regret.

It’s so easy to let anxiety and depression overwhelm you and strip you of everything good you once thought about yourself. It’s so easy to become dissatisfied with your life and your body and your mind. It’s so easy to feel broken and let yourself continue to break, over and over again. To feel as though nothing you’re doing is right. It’s so easy to run away —physically or mentally or emotionally.

It’s when I feel this way, the crushing weight of the world on my chest, that I turn to those around me for solace. And this week, thanks to the pure goodness of the people in my life, I am reminded that sometime it’s enough to simply get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it’s enough to make it through the day and climb back in bed. Sometimes it’s enough to just simply survive. That what I’m doing is enough. That I’m enough.

And while it’s still hard to find reality amidst the murk of my thoughts, this reminder makes that knot in my stomach unwind a bit, and my racing heart beats a little slower, and I can find space in between my breaths. And that’s enough, for today.

30 days of mindfulness

Yesterday, I came across Aetna’s Tumblr, which features posts proclaiming they’ll help you to 30 days of mindfulness. Mindfulness is something that’s been hard-won in my life. I always find myself rushing, looking forward to what I’m doing after work, or tomorrow, or this weekend, or next month. I find it very hard to find peace with myself in any particular moment, and my guess is that this comes from my longtime issues with anxiety and my inability to ever sit still. However, due to an onslaught of personal mental, physical and emotional health issues in recent months, I’ve taken it upon myself to stop and smell the roses more often. So when I came across Aetna’s #Mindful30 challenge, I thought I might just take it.

#Mindful30 tip 1 (click the link in our bio to learn more)

A photo posted by Aetna (@aetna) on Jan 4, 2016 at 1:50pm PST

 

Let me just start by saying I’m horrible at this stuff, from those photo-a-day Instagram challenges to giving up sweets for Lent to juice cleanses and everywhere in between. I basically just do what I want with no rhyme or reason and usually no filter, but this seems like a good one to stick with. I do a lot of yoga and meditation, which requires a lot of the aspects of mindfulness, so it’s not like I’m going whole-hog here from the get-go.

Anyway, Aetna’s day one challenge reads as follows: “Today, take a few moments to pause and be with yourself as you are. Start with paying attention to a few breaths as they move in and out of your body. Notice thoughts and feelings without self-judgment or criticism. And keep returning your attention to your breathing. This practice can help you have less anxiety and feel happier now and in the long run.” I took a few moments alone last night, in between shutting my book and turning off the lights to go to bed, to do this. Lately, it’s been easy for me to flip on the TV and fall asleep to the sound of “Friends” episodes I’ve seen a dozen times, but I declined doing this last night, instead choosing to do a little nighttime meditation I learned in a yoga therapy session two months ago in which I count my breaths with my fingers, which distracts my mind from traveling beyond my breathing and my body. It worked, and I slept better than I have in weeks without the aid of alcohol or melatonin or Monica and Chandler.

Today’s challenge is “Bathe in mindfulness,” meaning: “Practice being aware of the here and now. A great way to get started is during the morning shower – when you’re usually thinking about the day ahead of you. So for today, focus on the experience: the smell of the shampoo, the feeling of the water as it hits your shoulders and the touch of your fingers on your scalp. You’ll enjoy your shower more and take in an everyday moment, making it mindful.” I didn’t have time for a shower this morning because I had to run to the post office, so I’m going to give this one a shot tonight, but I will say the shower is my favorite place to relaxed. The aforementioned yoga therapy session helped me take longer showers to use as “me” time — to reflect and enjoy the water flowing over me, and to even do some stretching to ease sore muscles either at the end or beginning of a long day.

I’ll keep track of my progress here as best I can, mainly because if I do, I know the handful of family members and friends who read this will continually ask me how my mindfulness challenge is going, which will keep me *just* determined enough to hopefully stick it out.

Namaste, friends.

(This is in no way sponsored by Aetna, even though they’ve partnered with several other bloggers I follow, which is actually how I found out about this and thought it sounded beneficial to me in many ways. Just so you know.)

 

The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About

Read this.

Drifting Through

image: Shutterstock image: Shutterstock

There’s this thing that happens whenever I speak about or write about women’s issues. Things like dress codes, rape culture and sexism. I get the comments: Aren’t there more important things to worry about? Is this really that big of a deal? Aren’t you being overly sensitive? Are you sure you’re being rational about this?

Every. Single. Time.

And every single time I get frustrated. Why don’t they get it?

I think I’ve figured out why.

They don’t know.

They don’t know about de-escalation. Minimizing. Quietly acquiescing.

Hell, even though women live it, we are not always aware of it. But we have all done it.

We have all learned, either by instinct or by trial and error, how to minimize a situation that makes us uncomfortable. How to avoid angering a man or endangering ourselves. We have all, on many occasions, ignored an offensive comment. We’ve all…

View original post 1,606 more words

Accidental body confidence, or the decisions we make due to sweat

I came across this blog post today from She Thrives called “How I found body confidence by running out of f*cks” and I was struck by how nearly IDENTICAL the blogger’s experience was to an experience I had just last week (and had considered blogging about). So, read that post before this one or after this one or whenever, but read them both, because dammit, this was an important thing that happened to us and it should happen to you too.

After recently getting burned out on my yoga routine (four to five days a week, same studio, same classes, same teachers) I took a jab at purchasing ClassPass, which is essentially an unlimited monthly membership to dozens of gyms in the Austin area (with a few caveats, but that’s a story for another time – if you have questions about ClassPass, leave ’em in the comments and we can chat about it).

On Friday, I decided to attend a “Flow” yoga class at Black Swan Yoga’s Orchard location in downtown Austin – a class I’ve been to before at a studio I’ve visited dozens of times. After being out late the night before, I was feeling very low-energy and wobbly – not feeling a heavy cardio or strength workout, just a really sweaty, detoxing yoga class to perk me up. I found out at the last minute (read: five minutes after class started) that the teacher had subbed out and I was taking a Hot Onnit class — um, not exactly what I was expecting. On its website, Black Swan describes Hot Onnit as “OMG SWEATY! All levels, mat-based fitness class that combines yoga warm up and cool down with strength and conditioning programming. Onnit equipment consisting of Steel Bells and Maces are used to provide higher resistance than normal bodyweight classes, resulting in a sweat dripping session!” Ok, y’all. ACCURATE description. “OMG SWEATY!” is right. The room wasn’t cooled, and the afternoon Texas sun was shining through the windows, showing us poor souls no mercy.

Five minutes into class I was thinking, “Ok, this isn’t so bad.” Ten minutes into class, sweat was running into my eyes. Twenty minutes into class, I was regretting not bringing a towel. I couldn’t see from the sweat. It looked like I had showered with all my clothes on. I looked around at two of the other girls in the class, who had already lost their shirts and were working in just sports bras and yoga pants. “Am I confident enough for that?” I asked myself. I’ve always wanted to be one of the fit girls who felt OK just wearing a sports bra to work out in (it’s convenient, and less clothes get sweaty and therefore there’s less laundry!) but I’ve never felt comfortable enough with my body to do it.

Thirty minutes into class, I literally whispered, “F*ck it” to myself. The shirt came off and I wiped my face and arms with it. It was now my sweat towel. I looked around. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt awesome. I watched myself in the mirror for the next half hour, building muscle and building confidence. (I did not, however, get any cooler. It was stupidly hot in there. You could have filled a bathtub with my sweat.)

I thought that working out scantily clad in front of a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall mirror with 10 other people was the stuff of nightmares. I thought I would spend the entire rest of class looking at the parts of my body I hate, thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t turn this way or bend this way because wow, look at how unflattering that looks.” But I didn’t do that. I was too focused on what I was doing to even care about how I looked. And, also, you know what, who f*cking cares. Honestly. Nobody else in there was looking at me, and if they were, they didn’t care about how I looked (probably because there was sweat in their eyes too and they were temporarily blinded from even seeing what I looked like). You know, guys, we’re just all weird people in weird-shaped bodies trying to make ourselves and our lives better each day and we can do that shirtless or in parkas and the moral of the story isn’t going to change.

And you know what? I drove home without the shirt, got out of my car without the shirt, walked to my apartment with the shirt, and I gave no f*cks – and no one else did either. No one gave me funny looks.

I’m not saying that walking around shirtless in your apartment complex is the way to gain body confidence, but for me it was a step in the right direction. I’m also not saying that what happened Friday is going to magically make me feel okay with wearing bra tops and spandex shorts to my workout classes, because hello, we all have insecurities. I’m just saying that for about half an hour on Friday afternoon, I felt better about my body than I ever had before, so maybe the lesson learned here, by me and by the blogger at She Thrives, is to just stop giving a f*ck. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

i-just-saved-100-percent-on-stress

Until the very end

10346002_10204775743423408_7068737434685461698_nI’m a Potterhead. Anyone who has spent more than a half hour with me knows it – I don’t keep it secret, nor do I wish to. I wear my Deathly Hallows tattoo with pride, despite my sometimes sheepish behavior when I have to explain to non-Potter fans what it is, what it represents or where it’s from.

There is more to the story than “It’s a Harry Potter tattoo” or “It’s a popular symbol from the Harry Potter books.” What J.K. Rowling did for me many years ago was provide me with a world outside my own and friends when I had few.

I’ve always dreamed up scenarios in my head, as far back as I can remember. On bad days, as I went through my parents’ divorce, passed back and forth between parents every few weeks, lying in bed at night I frequently imagined myself elsewhere: A different place, a different life. As a princess, on my less creative days, or maybe as an old woman who owned a bookshop on a cobblestone street somewhere in Europe, drinking hot tea and reading books all day long.

When I was in elementary school, my Aunt Sheila gifted me two books for Christmas: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She’d read the books, she told me, and loved them, and decided I was old enough to read them and love them, too.

I devoured them. I remember feeling bad for Harry in the first book, stuffed in the cupboard under the stairs, deciding that maybe the life I’d been given wasn’t so bad after all — perspective on my own life, something I’d never felt before.

While reading Chamber of Secrets, I remember hiding the book under my pillow, running to my dad’s bedroom — the basilisk terrified me.

From thereafter, summer after summer, I begged my dad to take me to the local Wal-Mart (the only place that sold books in our small town!) at midnight to get the next installment. Dad caught me reading Prisoner of Azkaban under the covers by flashlight way after my bedtime on a school night. Goblet of Fire made me angry and gripped me.

I cried on my 11th birthday, the years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, when I didn’t get a letter to Hogwarts. I bought my own Hogwarts stationery and wrote my own letters to myself, copied word-for-word from the books.

Order of the Phoenix was the first book that ever made me cry. I threw Half-Blood Prince across the room, bawling when Dumbledore died. When Deathly Hallows came out, I stayed up until 6 a.m. and read the entire book, slept until noon, then reopened it and started all over again. I’ve been doing this ever since, and every time I reopen one of the books, it feels like returning home after a long journey.

I buried these parts of myself for a very long time. I was outspoken about my Potter love in elementary school, when the books were at their peak,but middle school came and I left my baby fat and glasses behind. Liking books was nerdy, especially liking a book about a boy wizard. My love persisted, though I shoved it (and my Harry Potter themed bedding, toys, video games, spinoff books, hand-scribbled fan fiction in my journals…you get the point) out of sight.

I still went to every midnight movie premiere. I reread the books when I was feeling lonely, or when I needed to leave my flawed world behind for one of magic and love and passion and friendship and death and sorrow and pure joy. The turn of every page still felt like an adventure, and though I shut myself up in my bedroom alone and read for hours, I was never alone — Harry, Ron and Hermione were the truest friends I’d ever had.

In college, I stopped caring so much what people thought of me or the things and people that I loved. I moved to the city, to a large university, and there were people of all shapes and sizes and fandoms. I bought a Deathly Hallows t-shirt, my first HP-related purchase in years. My friends and I drew Dark Marks on our arms for the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie premiere. The year after I graduated college, I permanently tattooed the Deathly Hallows symbol on the back of my neck and made my pilgrimage to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, thus placing me in Harry’s world in a way from which I would never be able to recover.

10245577_10204662867681585_3223352637594765663_n

Maybe it’s nerdy. OK, it is nerdy, but I don’t care in the least. The fact of the matter is that the characters were my friends when I had few. Hogwarts was my home when I wasn’t sure where my real home was. Harry Potter was and still is a sanctuary from the dangers of my mind. Cracking open a Harry Potter book or flipping on one of the movies when I get home from a long day at work is one of my life’s greatest comforts.

The symbol on my back is not a silly reminder of some books and movies I really liked. It is an homage to a story that was an integral part of my life, an alternate reality, an engaging world that taught me about decisions and their consequences, about good vs. evil and about my choices in life. I feel honored to have been able to love something as much as I love these characters and places.

To people like me, those stories did not exist simply on the pages of those books. It was real. It is real.

I guess Dumbledore said it best, didn’t he?

“Of course it is happening in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

10517590_10204768754608692_7155841783294707852_n

Newspaper blackout poetry, take one

I get the Sunday New York Times delivered every week, and every week I wonder what to do with my copy when I’m done reading it. I used to stack them all on the table by my couch, not wanting to throw anything away because I like to reuse things. Then I followed Austin Kleon on Instagram and heard about his book full of newspaper blackout poetry. Today I decided to take a crack at making the poetry myself. I learned it’s harder than I thought it would be, and I also learned I am no poet. Here’s my first attempt.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

View it on Instagram

When You Start Writing (Again) Only for You

distraction no.99

Something happens when you publish a novel for the first time. And I mean after the shock and thrill of selling the book and all those glorious and dazed dream-worthy moments leading up to when the book hits shelves, all tangled up with your hopes and expectations and the promises you may have been led to believe… I mean after, when people outside your writer friends and your agent and editor and significant other and the people who work at your publisher start to read the book. When you see how it performs in the world. How it’s taken, remembered or forgotten. How it’s interpreted, or misinterpreted.

All these other voices start seeping in. Critics. Reviewers. Bloggers. Readers. Goodreads-enthusiasts. Tweeters. Screamers. Whisperers. People at events who ask kind of odd questions. People who sound disappointed. People who seem confused. People who say beautiful things—even and especially the people who…

View original post 557 more words

Infinities, in transit

I changed my blog URL from kateyintransit (which was, let’s face it, pretty lame) to infinitiesintransit, which, admittedly, probably doesn’t make much sense to the layperson — but simply put, it’s because of my endless fascination with how to find and spend my infinities within the the infinitesimal and most definitely not infinite time I have on this earth.

There’s this quote from this John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars, which seems a little silly to just call “this John Green novel” like I do all the other John Green novels because it’s spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and it’s blown up more than any of Green’s other books have — which makes me feel like my private life has been put on display for the world to see, as the world begins to discover what a treasure Green’s writing is and begin to fall in love with him as a writer the same way I did so many years ago.

Anyway, infinities and TFIOS. There’s this line in the book, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities,” and in context, it explains that there are an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and 1 (like .111, .112, .113, and so on forever) but there are also an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and say, a million, therefore infinity is not a (ha) finite number — it could be any number. And that blows my mind.

There are a finite amount of days that I am allowed to spend on this earth. I don’t know what that amount is, and I’m sure I’m better off not knowing. But my goal in life is to find as many little infinities — as many things that can last forever, however long my forever may be — as possible.

So that’s why “infinities.” But why in transit? That one’s less complicated.

Because I never want to slow down or stop. I never want to stay in one place for too long, whether physically or mentally or emotionally or professionally or creatively. I’m 22 years old and my life, by nature, is constantly in transit. I want my infinities to be in transit, too. I want to live out my forever and discover my infinities within my need to constantly be moving. Is that realistic? Maybe not. But when have I ever been realistic?